According to the European Tourism Commission (ETC), arrivals of Chinese citizens were up 5.1% in 2018 over the previous year.
As part of the EU-China Tourism Year, the European Tourism Commission (ETC) joined the big leagues in order to increase Europe's appeal to Chinese tourists. About fifty European monuments and sites were illuminated in red to create a " light bridge " with China. Also a certification program dedicated to welcoming these tourists has been created.
In terms of volume, the United Kingdom is in the lead among EU countries and grew by +2.4%. With total Chinese tourist spending estimated at nearly £700 million in 2017, according to visitbritain.org, the decline in the pound sterling since early 2019 could benefit the retail sector as foreigners see their purchasing power grow.
Germany is in second place, up +2.6%. It should be noted that the city of Trier, on the border with Luxembourg, is particularly popular with Chinese tourists. More than 150,000 people visit the birthplace of Karl Marx and the house where he grew up each year.
Finally, France ranks third while its number of Chinese tourists finally surge (+7.7%) after periods of hesitation following the terrorist attacks. Local players are fine-tuning the reception of these visitors, for example Printemps Haussman, which has equipped itself with Alipay and now boasts one quarter of these Chinese customers who use this payment method. Nice-Côte d'Azur airport, meanwhile, has a Mandarin hotline and has set up payment via WeChatPay in its stores.
Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Tourism Commission (ETC), said: "The 2018 EU-China Tourism Year initiative has been a success and we continue benefit from it into 2019. Growth in the number of Chinese travellers has been solid and judging by current bookings, the EU will continue to increase its share of this valuable market, not only to traditional destinations, but also to less well-known destinations."
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